A patient with dementia at a Daytona Beach nursing home may have been sexually assaulted, according to police.
Investigators said they do not know if the alleged perpetrator is a health care worker or another patient at the Daytona Beach Health and Rehabilitation Center. Officials at the facility said they were not talking about the incident when called about it.
Daytona Beach Police Chief Mike Chitwood said he is furious over recent actions by the facility that have blocked an investigation into the possible sex assault case.
“It is despicable," Chitwood said. "In a way it shocks the conscience.”
Chitwood said the patient is a 75-year-old terminally ill woman with dementia.
“She complained to her daughter around July 3 that she’s having pain,” Chitwood said. The woman’s family took their loved one to the hospital where they found out she had a sexually transmitted disease. “The STD she has can only be transmitted through sex, so (her daughter) then notifies us,” Chitwood said. The woman has since been moved to another facility, police said.
Detectives came to the facility to do interviews, but the chief said they were told to hit the road.
“In 27 years, I have never had an investigation blocked because they want to run around waving (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) requirements,” Chitwood said. The facility won’t allow interviews of workers or patients, he said.
“All of a sudden, within 15 minutes of detectives arriving there, we got the proverbial, ‘Get off our property, we’re not cooperating, we’re contacting our attorney,’” Chitwood said.
Why can't the police act if they believe a crime has been committed, regardless of what the facility wants?
Chitwood said although they’re confident it happened at the facility because of the dates they’ve narrowed to when the possible abuse would have occurred, they don’t have proof.
“Those patients that are in that rehab center, they’re owed a complete and thorough investigation,” Chitwood said.
Police said the only route they can take now is to work with the State Attorney’s Office to have people subpoenaed.
“I want to know who had access to that woman," Chitwood said. "I want to know how many male nurses were in there. I want to know who goes in and out of her room."
Additional investgiation into the facility’s background reveals it has had several violations. This year alone, the Daytona Beach Health and Rehabilitation Center has been visited by the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration eight times. In those visits, they were found in violation of incorrect prescriptions, the temperature of the food, equipment not maintained and safety issues with alarms.
“That is unconscionable because every day this goes by, there is another potential (of) another victim,” Chitwood said.